Stewart Burns

    • Media Contact:
    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Professor
    • Organization:Union Institute & University
    • Area of Expertise:Biographer of Martin Luther King, nonvio

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My Expertise

    My Expertise

      Area(s) of expertise: Biographer of Martin Luther King, nonvio
      Summary of expertise:
      Prof. of Ethical & Creative Leadership and Martin Luther King Jr. Studies. Leadership (especially in Social Movements), U.S. Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., MLK Legacy, Civil & Human Rights, U.S. Social Movements, American Political & Social Thought, African-American History, American Politics & Political History, Democratic Theory & Practice, Grassroots Democracy, Citizenship Education, Christian Theology.
      Blog/Web site:
      Books/articles published:
      “To the Mountaintop, 2nd Edition: Martin Luther King’s Mission and its Meaning for America (HarperCollins) 2019
      Imperfect Leadership: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Structures of Power (in progress)

      Freedom Summer: Citizenship Supreme: Testimony of Participants, editor
      (, 2014)

      “We Will Stand Here Till We Die”: Freedom Movement Shakes America, Shapes Martin Luther King Jr. (CreateSpace, 2013)

      American Messiah: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ultimate Journey (Kindle, 2008)

      To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Mission to Save America, 1955-1968 (HarperCollins, 2004); winner of 2005 Wilbur Award for excellence in communication of religious values, ideas, and themes to a secular audience

      Venturing into Usefulness: Selected Papers of Jane Addams, vol. 2, co-editor (University of Illinois Press, 2009)

      Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott (University of North Carolina Press, 1997)

      Birth of a New Age, volume 3 of The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr., lead editor, coedited with Clayborne Carson et al (University of California Press, 1997)

      A People’s Charter: The Pursuit of Rights in America, coauthored with James
      MacGregor Burns (Knopf, 1991; Vintage, 1993)

      Social Movements of the 1960s: Searching for Democracy (Twayne/Simon & Schuster, 1990)

      “The Legal Lynching of Jeremiah Reeves” (in progress; paper presented to Africana Studies National Conference, Feb. 2016)

      “Eulogy for a Soldier of Freedom,” Leadership and the Humanities (March 2015)

      “Breaking the Silence of the Night: Stop Slavery Now” Sojourners magazine (Feb. 2012)

      Review of Derek C. Catsam, Freedom’s Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides, in American Historical Review (2010)

      Review of Michael K. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, in Journal of American History (December 2009)

      “Montgomery Bus Boycott,” Encyclopedia of Alabama History, 2007 (online)

      Review of Kimberly Springer, Living the Revolution, in Journal of American History (June 2006)

      “The Gospel of Martin: King’s Messianic Faith,” The Mind’s Eye (Spring 2005)

      “America Must Be Born Again,” Sojourners (January 2004)

      Contributor, Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle (New York University Press, 2000)

      Contributor, Civil Rights in the United States (Macmillan, 2000)

      Contributor, Oxford Companion to American Military History (Oxford University Press, 1999)

      Review of Francesca Polletta, Democracy Is an Endless Meeting, in Journal of American History (December 2003)

      Review of David Halberstam, The Children, in Journal of American History (March 1999)

      “A House Still Divided,” Stanford Magazine (January/February 1998)

      Review of Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom, in Journal of American History (December 1995)

      Review of Robert E. Kuenne, Economic Justice in American Society, in American Historical Review (June 1994)

      Review of J. Clay Smith, Jr., Emancipation: The Black Lawyer, 1844-1944, in Journal of American History (June 1994)

      “The Changing Political Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” The History Teacher
      (November 1993)

      Contributor, Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (Carlson, 1993)

      “Toward the New South: Dilemmas of Southern Reform before the Second Reconstruction,” Reviews in American History (June 1993)

      “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Empowering Legacy,” Tikkun (March 1993)

      Review of Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, in Journal of American History (December 1992)

      Review of Oscar Handlin and Lilian Handlin, Liberty in Peril, in American Historical Review (December 1992)

      “Freedom & Justice: The Bill of Rights After 200 Years,” Upper & Lower Case (Summer 1992)

      “The Wobblies,” with James MacGregor Burns, Constitution (Winter 1992)

      “Capacitors and Community: Women Workers at Sprague Electric, 1930-1980,” The Public Historian (Fall 1989)

      Review of Alan Wald, The New York Intellectuals, in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (Summer 1988)

      “We Are Undermining Democracy’s Chances,” The Center Magazine, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (March/April 1985)

      Compassionate Listening peacemaking delegation to Israel and Palestine, October 2004
      Compassionate Listening peacemaking delegation to Israel and Palestine, June-July 2002
      Frequent speaker on MLK and civil rights, esp. for King holiday & Black History Month
      Leader of workshops on diversity and multiculturalism (schools, colleges, communities)
      National Advisory Board, Tikkun Community
      Community Advisory Board, Mendocino (Calif.) Unified School District
      Board of Directors, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Board of Advisors, North Central Elementary Institute, San Mateo, C Board of Directors, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto, Calif.
      Board of Directors, Center for Economic Conversion, Mountain View, Calif.
      MLK Day Planning Committee, North Adams, Mass.
      Take Charge (environmental education & advocacy group), North Adams, Mass.
      Executive Board & North Berkshire Taskforce, Multicultural BRIDGE, Berkshire Co.
      Planning Committee, North Adams Community/Youth Center
      Consultant on civil rights & affirmative action, City of Pittsfield, Mass., 2013 National Coordinator, Four Girls Jubilee Project, 2013

      Prior media experience:
      Associate Producer and Consultant, “Boycott” (2001), HBO Films dramatic production about the Montgomery bus boycott, based on my book Daybreak of Freedom; winner of the NAACP Image Award, 2001

      Writer and producer, “Jim Crow on Trial: Voices from Montgomery,” play and video dramatization about the Montgomery bus boycott, 1996

      Educational background:
      1984: Ph.D. in History of Consciousness/ Politics (interdisciplinary doctoral program), University of California, Santa Cruz

      • Dissertation: “The Populist Movement and the Cooperative Commonwealth: The Politics of Non-Reformist Reform”

      1975: B.A. in History, University of California, Santa Barbara

      • Russell Buchanan Alumni Award for Excellence in History; Outstanding Graduating Senior in History
      Dr. Karen Schuster Webb, President Union Institute & University
      Dr. Burns has worked for many years in movements for peace and social justice—protesting the Vietnam War, organizing for the United Farm Workers, opposing nuclear power and nuclear weapons, fighting racism and modern slavery, and confronting poverty. His mission is to share lessons from the democratic struggles of the past to empower citizenship today and tomorrow.

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